On July 20, volunteers and advocates of the March of Dimes Connecticut Chapter gathered at the State Capitol to celebrate the signing of Bill No. SB 56, An Act Concerning Pulse Oximetry Screening in Newborn Infants, which officially makes screening infants for Critical Congenital Heart Disease (CCHD) mandatory in the state of
“We applaud the state of Connecticut for enacting this important legislation, which will benefit our tiniest and most vulnerable citizens: babies,” said Amy Gagliardi, Public Affairs Chair for the March of Dimes Connecticut Chapter. “With this signing, our state has become a leader in CCHD screening, and we continue to make strides to ensure that all babies will be born healthy.”
One in every four infant deaths due to birth defects in Connecticut is caused by a congenital heart defect. Nearly 4,800 infants across the country each year are born with a critical congenital heart defect. CCHD is a subgroup of all of the congenital heart diseases evident at birth. Congenital heart disease is a problem with the heart's structure and/or function which is present at birth. “Critical” means that the heart defect causes severe, life-threatening symptoms and requires intervention (e.g., medical treatment or surgery) within the first few hours, days or months of life.
Pulse Oximetry is used in hospitals to monitor oxygen levels in patients. Now, this same reliable and non-invasive screening will be used to alert hospital and birthing center staff to potential signs of CCHD. A positive result does not always mean the infant has a congenital heart defect. If a screening result is positive, it means that the baby’s test results showed low levels of oxygen in the blood, which can be a sign of CCHD. Additional testing is then needed to confirm the diagnosis. If CCHD is confirmed, varying medical or surgical treatments are initiated, and can improve infants’ five-year survival rates by as much as 97 percent.
For more information regarding congenital heart defects, please visit marchofdimes.com.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.